Geo asked to tone down broadcast
KARACHI/ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) has once again asked Geo TV to tone down its transmission and respect the country’s defence institutions, sources told The Express Tribune on Thursday.
The media watchdog on Thursday held a detailed discussion over the defence ministry’s complaint against Geo TV for making serious allegations against the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
“It was a routine meeting which was already scheduled. However, the three-member committee briefed the other eight [Pemra]members on the complaint against Geo TV and the subsequent show cause notice issued to the channel by Pemra,” a senior Pemra official said.
The authority on Wednesday constituted a three-member committee, comprising Acting Pemra Chairman Pervez Rathore, Syed Ismail Shah and Israr Abbasi, to investigate charges levelled by the Ministry of Defence against Geo TV and issued show cause notices to the channel’s administration, directing them to appear before the committee by May 6.
The defence ministry submitted a complaint against Geo TV to Pemra on Tuesday, accusing the channel of running a vicious campaign aimed at maligning the image of the ISI.
The four-page complaint, which included the script of news bulletins, tickers and breaking news, stated that “the said reporting has violated the specific terms and conditions of [Geo TV’s] license.”
The ministry urged the regulator to immediately suspend Geo TV’s license and then cancel it under Section 20 of the Pemra Ordinance, 2002 after examining the facts. It not only asked for Geo TV’s broadcasting licence to be revoked, but called for the media regulator to initiate criminal proceedings against its editors and management.
However, earlier on Thursday, Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid said “news about the closing of broadcast of Geo News TV channel, changing its position on the cable and creation of hurdles in circulation of The News and Daily Jang in some parts of the country is highly regrettable.”
According to an official statement, the minister talked to the Pemra chairman in this regard, “who assured him that he would take steps for the restoration of the broadcast of Geo News.”
Meanwhile, in his first formal statement after recovering from the attempt on his life, journalist Hamid Mir said he never held the ISI chief responsible for any possible attack against him.
The statement, which was read out by Hamid’s brother Aamir Mir, has raised new questions in various circles across the country.
They point out that his channel earlier raised a hue and cry over his alleged statement that the ISI chief would be responsible for any attack on him. Within a few days, however, Hamid has changed his statement, they said.